It is not every day you get the chance to meet one of your all-time sporting heroes, let alone learn something from the experience, and I was therefore delighted to attend an event on 23rd November at which Jonny Wilkinson gave a talk about the lessons he has learnt from his high-profile career.
As many of you will know, he is the former England Rugby fly half who until a few weeks ago had the record for most points scored for England. The pinnacle of his career came in 2003 when he kicked the drop goal which secured England’s first (and so far only) Rugby World Cup title.
Earlier this year, I had been invited to join the Leaders Council, an organisation chaired by Lord Blunkett, the former Home Secretary. Their ethos is to “put leadership in the spotlight and provide opportunities for members to connect, learn and grow together.” This is the first event of theirs I had attended. Former speakers have included Tony Blair, Geoff Hurst, Andrew Strauss and Denise Lewis.
Jonny Wilkinson gave a speech about the importance of making the most of the present rather than spending all of your time either dwelling on the past or trying to control the future. He made time to chat to those attending the talk - including me and my wife, I’m pleased to say - both before and afterwards.
I also had an opportunity to speak with David Blunkett, who later joked that as David Cameron has made a come-back to the Cabinet then it is not too late for Jonny to return to top-level sport, too, especially as David’s beloved Sheffield United are in desperate need of someone who can kick goals!
I both enjoyed and took a lot from the talk, even though – as a solicitor – it is not the easiest thing to live in the present when there are Court timetables to comply with! I’m looking forward to next year’s Leaders’ Council speech with interest.